DS and Wii devices that enable piracy may actually be legal, says EU court

Nintendo and PC Box argue in court.

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Luigi delivers the news to Iwata.
Luigi delivers the news to Iwata.

A European court has ruled that devices made to enable piracy on consoles, such as the DS and Wii, may actually be legal.

The dispute has arisen after a case between Nintendo and PC Box, with the latter making devices that allows unlicensed software--and subsequently enabled pirated games--to run on the former's devices.

Nintendo believes that PC Box's tinkering is mainly to enable people to circumvent the copy protection of its games, whereas PC Box claims that users should be allowed to play their own movies and MP3 files on devices they own.

"The Court of Justice next states that the legal protection covers only the technological measures intended to prevent or eliminate unauthorised acts of reproduction, communication, public offer or distribution, for which authorisation from the copyrightholder is required," the court rules.

"That legal protection must respect the principle of proportionality without prohibiting devices or activities which have a commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent the technical protection for unlawful purposes."

The court has now ruled that the Milan District Court must now look at ways people actually these devices, and to consider whether Nintendo could implement any other measures that would disable piracy while also enabling more consumer choice for unlicensed--although not illegal--software.

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